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This Bright Home in Mexico City Reflects the Owners’ Colorful Bag Line

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Aude Jan, Charles Gout, and their dog.

Earlier this year, French designers Aude Jan and Charles Gout were forced to shut the doors of their Mexico City showroom and convert their Roma Norte apartment into an at-home designer studio. Yet, a transition isn’t out of the norm for the creative (and romantic) couple behind their incredibly cool brand, Audette, which specializes in leather bags and accessories.

“In the five years in Mexico City, we have moved 10 times in line with the evolution of our brand and our discovery of the city,” says Charles. "From sharing small rooms and even living in a squat with artists friends for a few months. Our new apartment is our first ‘home’ in Mexico City, and we’ve been living there for 9 months.”

Handmade in Mexico City, the handbags are bright, colorful, and constructed in such interesting shapes. It’s no surprise that when we got to see inside of Aude and Charles’s home, we were equally enamored.

Charles says that living among good taste is important, “but above all, I want to live in a fun, lively, and dreamlike space, so I am inspired by Almodovar’s films, Dali's works, and Mexican popular culture.”

“The white chair is the 41 by designer Alvar Aalto. It is a gift from a friend who saw it as a nice reference to our collection —the roundness of the forms and purity of the lines,” says Charles. “It is one of the first creations of the Finn, one of the pieces that makes it known, so it is a supportive message for young designers like us.”

“This mix of our two personalities is a richness for our collections as well as for the decoration of our apartment,” says Charles. “We think ‘design’ and ‘style’ without falling under defined and formal labels. This allows us to be completely free in our creative process.” It's easy to see how the handbag relates to its surroundings.

“We have exactly the same inspiration between the design of our apartment and that of our collection,” says Charles. “The apartment is a reflection of our couple and brand. Aude’s family (father interior architect and mother patternmaker) and upbringing have given her classic design references: Le Corbusier, Alvar Aalto, or even Luis Barragán are among her first inspirations. The material, the precision of the lines, and the functionality of objects are important principles for her. For my part, my research is more about dreaming, surrealism, and pushes to color the whole apartment.”

“When it came time to furnish the apartment, we wanted to make the most of the space and most of the vintage or new sofas were not suitable,” says Charles. So, the couple took inspiration from a Charlotte Perriand exhibition and commissioned a friend, Lucyle Wagner, to craft the piece. “To give a Mexican touch, we chose the color Lila. Indeed, at the beginning of each spring, the jacaranda trees bloom and flood Mexico City with their purple flowers.”

Most of the glass objects come from a very old handicraft shop in Mexico where a grandmother, her daughters, and granddaughters work. “It’s a magical place where we usually come to buy objects for the photo shoots,” says Charles. “We reuse them afterwards as our dishes. The transparency of the glass limits the clutter of space when its color and the sun of Mexico City create magnificent reflections.”

The cloudy torso is a piece Charles found at a garage sale and the colorful plastic stools seen around the apartment come from taco stands. “We decided to combine [the stools] with our poplar table,” says Charles. “This set is for us representative of today’s Mexico, a mix between talented young artists and a popular and colorful daily life that floods the city.”

The wood table by Eduardo Altamirano is a prized piece in the apartment. “The other chairs in the apartment are found in Mexican flea markets,” adds Charles. “They are all different and usually come from the ’50s. We like the uniqueness of these pieces in their color and wear. They sometimes belonged to many owners before us, it gives them a part of mystery that we like.”

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Combining their living quarters with work was a fairly natural process since the couple is already used to being together all the time. “However, the apartment provided us with an exceptional working environment,” says Charles. “The soft light changes throughout the day and accompanies our readings, drawings, and all the activities involved in our creative process. We were fortunate to have furnished our apartment just before the crisis began and thus enjoy the different spaces according to the different tasks of the day. Our sofa and the terrace were the places for discussions and phone calls, when our wooden table, designed and handcrafted by the young Eduardo Altamirano, served as a drawing board.”

“Oddly enough, I think our favorite room is the tiny kitchen,” says Charles. “So small that it can hardly accommodate three people, but it’s a place where we like to get together after a hard day’s work to prepare a good meal. It is not modern at all, and we have to constantly play Tetris to put away the dishes."

“Most of the ceramic pieces are made by Aude’s grandmother in Paris,” says Charles. “It’s funny because she has always loved making pottery and while some people thought it was old-fashioned in the past, today she realizes that young people love her objects and all want to learn how to make ceramics with her.”

The combination of Aude and Charles’s French roots and a profound love of Mexico City is apparent in the home’s furnishings. And though the space isn’t too big, it offers an ideal simplicity for the couple. It’s space to grow and space to dream.

“When we visited the apartment it was dark and cramped because of how it was furnished, which was not really adapted to the different rooms,” says Charles. “We decided to repaint all the walls and ceilings in white and to design custom-made furniture to make sure that this small apartment would become a harmonious and uncluttered place. We really wanted to ‘dress’ the apartment according to its constraints and not try to transform it.”

“For us, these mirrors are ‘living’ paintings that evolve over time according to the light of the day, people passing by, and objects placed in front of them,” says Charles. “They also open perspectives in our small apartment and give us a feeling of infinity. Finally, while many people try to put the biggest television in front of the sofa, we thought it was quite funny to put our guests in front of themselves. They were handcrafted by artisans in the city center.”

Admired by Audette

Favorite part about the neighborhood?

“We live in Roma Norte, a neighborhood with colonial architecture in the center of the Mexican capital,” says Charles. “In spite of the gentrification, it’s still a lively neighborhood with lots of small shops, incredible street food, and a lot of vegetation. What’s nice is this mix, you find Art Deco buildings juxtaposed with horrible buildings from the ’70s, small food stands in front of restaurants whose Mexican chefs are known all over the world. It’s an incredible source of inspiration every day, we don’t stand still and this tension of styles (specific to emerging capitals) makes us always more creative.”

Dream addition to your space?

“We have a beautiful terrace which is for the moment quite simple,” says Charles. “We’d like to set it up as a hanging garden over the city. We are currently designing with an ironmonger a large table that, under our garlands of lights, will be ideal to organize nice evenings with our Mexican friends, French [friends], and all the great people we meet in Mexico City. We want the terrace to be an extension of the apartment, that it belongs to the same universe so that the only difference is the sky instead of the ceiling.”

Last thing you had delivered/bought for your home?

“We travel through the labyrinths of the capital and especially love the garage sales, which are full of treasures,” says Charles. “I recently found a woman’s bust printed with a cloudy sky—looking like it came out of the Venus de Milo and the ’90s—a weird object, but I love it! Aude added a ni una menos scarf that was recovered during the march against femicides in Mexico on March 8.”

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The string of lights on the terrace are reminiscent of the range of colorful handbags.


Aude Jan, Charles Gout, and their dog. Earlier this year, French designers Aude Jan and Charles Gout were forced to shut the doors of their Mexico City showroom and convert their Roma Norte apartment into an at-home designer studio. Yet, a transition isn’t out of the norm for the creative (and romantic) couple behind their incredibly cool brand, Audette , which specializes in leather bags and accessories.

“In the five years in Mexico City, we have moved 10 times in line with the evolution of our brand and our discovery of the city,” says Charles. «From sharing small rooms and even living in a squat with artists friends for a few months. Our new apartment is our first ‘home’ in Mexico City , and we’ve been living there for 9 months.”

Handmade in Mexico City, the handbags are bright, colorful, and constructed in such interesting shapes. It’s no surprise that when we got to see inside of Aude and Charles’s home, we were equally enamored. Charles says that living among good taste is important, “but above all, I want to live in a fun, lively, and dreamlike space, so I am inspired by Almodovar’s films, Dali’s works, and Mexican popular culture.” “The white chair is the 41 by designer Alvar Aalto . It is a gift from a friend who saw it as a nice reference to our collection —the roundness of the forms and purity of the lines,” says Charles. “It is one of the first creations of the Finn, one of the pieces that makes it known, so it is a supportive message for young designers like us.” “This mix of our two personalities is a richness for our collections as well as for the decoration of our apartment,” says Charles. “We think ‘design’ and ‘style’ without falling under defined and formal labels. This allows us to be completely free in our creative process.” It’s easy to see how the handbag relates to its surroundings. “We have exactly the same inspiration between the design of our apartment and that of our collection,” says Charles. “The apartment is a reflection of our couple and brand. Aude’s family (father interior architect and mother patternmaker) and upbringing have given her classic design references: Le Corbusier, Alvar Aalto, or even Luis Barragán are among her first inspirations. The material, the precision of the lines, and the functionality of objects are important principles for her. For my part, my research is more about dreaming, surrealism, and pushes to color the whole apartment.” “When it came time to furnish the apartment, we wanted to make the most of the space and most of the vintage or new sofas were not suitable,” says Charles. So, the couple took inspiration from a Charlotte Perriand exhibition and commissioned a friend, Lucyle Wagner, to craft the piece. “To give a Mexican touch, we chose the color Lila. Indeed, at the beginning of each spring, the jacaranda trees bloom and flood Mexico City with their purple flowers.” Most of the glass objects come from a very old handicraft shop in Mexico where a grandmother, her daughters, and granddaughters work. “It’s a magical place where we usually come to buy objects for the photo shoots,” says Charles. “We reuse them afterwards as our dishes. The transparency of the glass limits the clutter of space when its color and the sun of Mexico City create magnificent reflections.” The cloudy torso is a piece Charles found at a garage sale and the colorful plastic stools seen around the apartment come from taco stands. “We decided to combine [the stools] with our poplar table,” says Charles. “This set is for us representative of today’s Mexico, a mix between talented young artists and a popular and colorful daily life that floods the city.” The wood table by Eduardo Altamirano is a prized piece in the apartment. “The other chairs in the apartment are found in Mexican flea markets,” adds Charles. “They are all different and usually come from the ’50s. We like the uniqueness of these pieces in their color and wear. They sometimes belonged to many owners before us, it gives them a part of mystery that we like.” To view this video please enable JavaScript, and consider upgrading to a web browser that supports HTML5 video WATCH Inside J Balvin’s Japanese Design-Inspired Mansion Share Tweet Email More… EMBED URL

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More Architectural Digest Videos Combining their living quarters with work was a fairly natural process since the couple is already used to being together all the time. “However, the apartment provided us with an exceptional working environment,” says Charles. “The soft light changes throughout the day and accompanies our readings, drawings, and all the activities involved in our creative process. We were fortunate to have furnished our apartment just before the crisis began and thus enjoy the different spaces according to the different tasks of the day. Our sofa and the terrace were the places for discussions and phone calls, when our wooden table, designed and handcrafted by the young Eduardo Altamirano , served as a drawing board.” “Oddly enough, I think our favorite room is the tiny kitchen,” says Charles. “So small that it can hardly accommodate three people, but it’s a place where we like to get together after a hard day’s work to prepare a good meal. It is not modern at all, and we have to constantly play Tetris to put away the dishes.» “Most of the ceramic pieces are made by Aude’s grandmother in Paris,” says Charles. “It’s funny because she has always loved making pottery and while some people thought it was old-fashioned in the past, today she realizes that young people […]